Being a woman is…just…you know? Sometimes? There’s something really wonderful and comforting about reading the words of other women and knowing you have that shared experience. Even if it’s the ONLY experience that we might share, I just love hearing the stories that women tell.
I’m an escapist when it comes to reading and generally default to fiction. In fact, I go through long periods where I refuse to read non-fiction outside of work. (Especially after long days of editing academic writing, I just needed to immerse myself into some YA fiction.) The one constant exception to this role was for comedic memoires. Then that expanded to women’s memoirs.
Funny, poignant, captivating, infuriating, and thought provoking. When a woman has something to say, listen up.
Here’s a list of some of the memoirs that I was just enthralled with – the ones that I devoured. The ones that I just could not put down. They’re not all recent publications, but they are all definitely worth a read.
How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell
I’m the opposite of a stylish party girl but the need for external approval resonates with me deeply. I found myself captivated by a morbid curiousity about the glamour and chaos of her life. How she built success in between binges and pill popping is infuriating and fascinating. Highly recommend.
“I extracted a pink Addy, put the blessed thing on my tongue like I was taking Communion, and chewed it up like it was baby aspirin.”
How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
“I’m 16 I’m 16 I’m 16 and these are my best clothes, and this is my best day”
I don’t think any line in any book has resonated with me more than this. So easily can I put myself back in my 16 year old mind, picking out my “coolest” outfit, waiting to see my crush.
Caitlin Moran is siginificantly cooler than me, but I found words on feminism and womanhood ones that I could hang on to.
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
Roxane Gay is a brilliant mind and I so enjoyed reading about her brand of feminism, as well as her life experiences that shaped who she is.
I relate to her love of Scrabble and adoration of Ina Garten but more importantly, I learned so much by reading from a perspective that culturally, and racially, is so different from my own experience.
“At some point, you have to surrender to the types of privilege you hold.”
I Feel Bad About my Neck (And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman) by Nora Ephron
Nora Ephron was an iconic culture maker and I related deeply to her aversion to purses and love of food. She somehow simultaneously speaks for everywoman while still having this unattainable quality charm and grace. More aspirational than instagram, if you ask me.
“your purse is just a big dark hole full of stuff you spend hours fishing around for. A flashlight would help, but if you put one into your purse, you’d never find it.”
Girl Walks into a Bar by Rachel Dratch
I was crying laughing at the horse anecdote. Personally, I think the cliché of girls who love horses is lame (horse culture is dumb — cash me outside) and lost it at this recap of a terrible date.
Bonus: If you want a teaser, listen to Rachel tell the horsemeat story on The Moth. It’s a slightly different telling than in the book, but still so funny.
The Bedwetter by Sarah Silverman
Life highlight: Sarah Silverman showed up unannounced to a Christmas Eve show at the Comedy Cellar when I was in NY a few years ago. The best.
I had no idea of her struggles with mental health as an adolescent and learned so much about how her young life shaped her creativity and comedy as an adult.
“Make it a treat.”
Words to live by.
What are you reading these days?